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Festivals: Vancouver IFF

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Vancouver 2018 Interview: Ron Mann Preserves Holy History in CARMINE STREET GUITARS

It may not sound like groundbreaking stuff - a quaint documentary about a custom guitar shop in the heart of Greenwich Village - but make no mistake, Ron Mann’s latest laid-back documentary, Carmine Street Guitars, is the most unassuming, sneakily...

Vancouver 2018 Review: EDGE OF THE KNIFE, Immersed in the 19th Century

Edge of the Knife (aka SGaawaay K'uuna) is a film whose reputation will precede it, but for all the right reasons. Its existence marks the first ever feature entirely in Haida, an indigenous language that is spoken fluently by less than...

Vancouver 2018 Review: THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, Lars von Trier's True "Kanye Moment"

Matt Dillon commits fully to the role of serial killer Jack, who works as an engineer and suffers from crippling OCD, among other psychological issues. Like a square version of American Psycho's Patrick Bateman, Jack gleefully embraces his dark nature and never tries to thwart his heinous impulses.

Vancouver 2018 Review: BERGMAN: A YEAR IN A LIFE Digs Deep

I’m writing this review from a friend’s kitchen where I’m staring at a very apropos Jack Kerouac magnet that quotes him saying “All I have to offer anyone is my confusion.” In digesting the Ingmar Bergman doc I’ve just seen,...

Vancouver 2018 Review: Hosada Returns with the Mesmerizing MIRAI

Part Alice in Wonderland, part A Christmas Carol, Hosada's latest film is as charming and moving as his other works--and perhaps even more beautifully animated.

Vancouver 2018 Review: THE OLD MAN & THE GUN is a Bittersweet Delight

In David Lowery's The Old Man & the Gun, Robert Redford plays a version of real life legend, Forrest Tucker, the old timer who robbed countless banks in his lifetime, broke out of jail sixteen times, yet still found the time to court pretty women like Jewel, played by the eternally lovable Sissy Spacek.

Vancouver 2018 Review: WANGDRAK'S RAIN BOOTS

Wangdrak (Druklha Dorje) is a spirited first-grader living in a rural farming village in Tibet. As the movie begins, his daily routine, walking to school with a neighborhood girl, playing with his wind-up frog, has been disrupted by the rainy...

Vancouver 2018 Review: THE SISTERS BROTHERS

The Sisters Brothers is an excellent movie, but it is being marketed in all the wrong ways. I suppose if it results in a financial success, then all's well that ends well. I worry, though, that once general audiences see...

Vancouver 2017 Review: BLACK COP Does Its Concept Justice

Between its success at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered earlier this year, and here at VIFF, where it won the Canadian Feature award, Black Cop has become something of a sensation. Its concept is an undeniably timely,...

Vancouver 2017 Review: MAISON DU BONHEUR, a Lovely Portrait

Filmmaker Sofia Bohdanowicz's 2016 film, Never Eat Alone, won her VIFF's Emerging Canadian Director prize for that year. Now, she returns to the festival with her newest feature, Maison du bonheur. How the film came to be is a charming...

Vancouver 2017 Review: GUKOROKU: TRACES OF SIN, a Haunting Debut

Gukoroku: Traces of Sin, a moody Japanese mystery based on Nukui Tokuro's novel, feels like a pristine, preserved relic from the golden age of Japanese horror (think late 1990's, early 2000's). A self-assured and masterfully shot feature-length debut, the film...

Vancouver 2017 Review: THE SQUARE, An Uncomfortable Delight

Ruben Östlund is proving himself to be a keen observer of the human (specifically, male) condition, and one who can draw humor from its depths without losing any empathy along the way.

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE ROAD TO MANDALAY Paints A Dark Portrait Of Migration

We've all heard, or read, an innumerable amount of horror stories about immigrants from third-world countries coming to North America and Europe. The Road to Mandalay shows us that even the seemingly small hop from Myanmar to Thailand can feel...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE LOCK PICKER Features Very Promising Talent

Randall Okita's debut feature, The Lockpicker, screened as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival's new Future // Present series, which showcases emerging directorial talent in Canadian film. The film is a claustrophobic -- mainly shot in tightly held closeups...

Vancouver 2016 Review: MALIGLUTIT, A Spiritual Remake of John Ford's Western Classic THE SEARCHERS

Maliglutit, the latest film by Zacharias Kunuk (The Fast Runner), is essentially a spiritual remake of John Ford's seminal Western classic, The Searchers. This time, the action is set entirely in Nunavut, Canada's most sparsely populated territory and home to...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE UNKNOWN GIRL, All Quiet Revelations, Resignation and Modest Hope

While its central conceit is decidedly sensational in nature, The Unknown Girl (La fille inconnue) unfolds at a mundanely methodical trot that has come to be expected of the Dardenne brothers. Their latest film revolves around a confident and talented...

Vancouver 2014 Review: MAN ON HIGH HEELS, Crime Genre As Transgender Study

Man On High Heels, a Korean gangster-cop flick of another color, navigates gender politics as shakily as its strangely-worded (or translated) title would suggest. Cha Seung-won stars as Ji-wook, the eponymous man: a specimen of ideal masculinity who spends his...

Vancouver 2014 Review: EXIT Feels Pretty But Shallow

Chienn Hsiang's second feature, Exit, is lovely to look at, and pleasant enough to watch, but ultimately feels inconsequential. Chen Shiang-chyi stars as Lingzi, a childlike middle-aged woman finds herself alone for a few weeks while her teenaged daughter visits...

Vancouver 2014 Review: WELCOME TO ME Stokes The Fires Of Disability Discourse

Kristen Wiig has been enjoying a lengthy run of success since leaving Saturday Night Live in 2012. Her humor is punctuated by awkward, uncomfortable stares, or lines delivered with more weight -- loneliness, sadness, regret -- than they seem to...

Vancouver 2014 Review: THE GOLDEN ERA Hits All Of Its Marks

The Golden Era follows the (tragically short) life of one of China's most celebrated female writers, Xiao Hong (portrayed by Tang Wei), in typically lavish period-biopic fashion. On an aesthetic level, the film is gorgeously realized by director Ann Hui,...